Past Mastery

History makes its mark on the Hollywood studios’ fall-release buildup, both in remakes and in films set in the past. Martin Scorsese repossesses Robert De Niro for his remake of the 1962 thriller Cape Fear (also starring Nick Nolte and Jessica Lange), about an ex-con who terrorizes the family of the lawyer who failed to get him acquitted years earlier (Universal). Steve Martin and Diane Keaton pair improbably in Charles Shyer’s remake of the 1950 family comedy Father of the Bride (Touchstone). For kids and adults, Anjelica Huston continues gothic in Barry Sonnenfeld’s film, The Addams Family (Paramount); Disney releases its animated Beauty and the Beast; and Steven Spielberg dispatches a grownup Peter Pan back to the eternal present of NeverNever Land in TriStar’s Hook, starring Dustin Hoffman and Robin Williams. Also from TriStar, Barry Levinson’s heralded Bugsy, with the Beatty-Bening combo playing the mobster who invented Las Vegas, and his moll. Fox offers two World War II movies: David Seltzer’s Shining Through, in which Melanie Griffith plays a New York secretary who helps her boss (Michael Douglas) in undercover heroics behind enemy lines, and (more promising) Mark Rydell’s For the Boys, starring Bette Midler and James Caan as a wartime song-and-dance duo. Nancy Savoca (True Love) directs Dogfight, with River Phoenix as a sixties marine who finds unexpected bliss with “ugly" date Lili Taylor (Warner).